February 21, 2014

Why smugglers are counting losses — Oyo/Osun Area Customs Command

Why smugglers are counting losses — Oyo/Osun Area Customs Command

If revelations about seizures made by the Nigerian Customs Services are anything to go by, last year and even the beginning of this year was a period smugglers in Oyo and Osun states would want to forget in a hurry. According to the Oyo/Osun Area Command, several smuggling activities were foiled by its men during the period.

While giving the score card of the Command between January and December last year, the Area Controller, Mr. Richard Oteri said among the seizures made by his Command were 56,750pieces of live cartridges, 12, 251 bags of rice, 52, 600 frozen products, 227 assorted vehicles and many others. He also informed that arising from this,  the Command was able to collect over N15 billion in total revenue during the period.

Giving further breakdown of its activities, the Command said: “The two major sources of revenue are excise factories and duty payment from vehicles. The excise factories are mainly British American Tobacco Nigeria, Nigeria Breweries Plc and International Breweries, Ilesha”.

While working hard to bring other extant factories under Customs control, the Oyo/Osun Area Command in the year 2013 collected N15,519,122,324.64as against N11,648,528,475.80.
The Command also said it had made giant strides on duty payment on imported vehicles as a result of an aggressive enlightenment campaign. “A total of 1,736 vehicles paid duty to the tune of N172,143,328.06 as against the 1102 vehicles with a total of N84,502,517.19 representing 34.1 per cent,” he said.

While reiterating his Command’s resolve to check smuggling activities in the two states, Oteri said his officers and men had intensified the execution of the war against smuggling, utilizing new strategies initiated by the current management under the able leadership of Comptroller General, Abdullahi Dikko which has led to a total of 270 seizures whose value is put at N706,435,256.79. The seizures included ammunition, rice, frozen products and others.

On ammunition seized, he said: “There was the spectacular seizure of 56,750 pieces of live cartridges in a Ford bus with registration numbers, XD 577 GWA and chassis number WFOHXXGBVNA88952 arrested on Igboho road axis in Saki. The ammunition was handed over to the police for further investigation.

Also, 12,251 bags of rice that were concealed in different forms, including a trailer loaded with 40ft container of rice concealed with charcoal, a refrigerated truck loaded with 300 bags, two truckloads concealed with bags of groundnut shells, saw dusts, yam flours and bags of dried cassava tubers were seized. The total DPV of the rice is N82,073,883. 80.

“The seizure included 52,620 cartons of frozen products with a DPV of N321,770,660. In addition 227 assorted vehicles were also intercepted amounting to N129,875,040.51. It is also pertinent to mention that the Command made an arrest of suspects with fake documents for smuggled vehicles within the period.

Investigations into this is on-going and it is believed that this will help in bursting the syndicates specialising in forging of Customs documents and this in the long run will reduce the incidence of smuggling of imported vehicles. Other items seized by the Command are textile materials, 1,105 used tyres, vegetable oil and Indian hemp”.

Though, he did not give specific details of suspects arraigned in courts during the year, he said some suspects are currently undergoing prosecution in courts over smuggling cases for being in possession of fake Customs documents. As parts of its social responsibility, the Command stated that the Customs Officers Wives Association recently visited the Oyo State Juvenile Correctional Institution/Child Unit, Ijokodo, Ibadan and presented different gift items and identified with the children.